The states in the Southeast are extremely well-positioned to be long-term leaders in the wind industry, but we need a regional focus and leadership to achieve that potential.
This region has some compelling competitive advantages that are currently not well understood by many stakeholders. SEWC works to highlight these competitive advantages and improve the general understanding of the costs and benefits for land-based and offshore wind to leaders in the Southeast.
Despite the relatively small amount of utility scale wind installed in the region, there are at least 112 manufacturing facilities in the 11 southeastern states that provide components to the wind industry. Typically, you see manufacturing occurring in proximity to project installations - but these facilities have been located in this region because of lower labor costs. As land-based projects are developed in the Southeast, and especially offshore wind projects, we can expect to see the supply chain grow.
There are significant land-based wind resources in the Southeast, despite having little wind energy installed. Technological advancements in taller towers and longer blades are opening up additional areas in the Southeast for wind development that were previously not considered viable. More >
The Southeast can benefit from projects built in other regions of the country by importing the low cost electricity into our markets. Currently there are power purchase agreements for over 3500 MW of wind imports into the southeastern states. More >
The Southeast has, by far, the largest shallow water offshore wind resource on the East Coast. According to the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL), Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia have 82% of the East Coast resource in shallow water and more than 12 miles offshore and 45% of the total East Coast offshore wind resource. More >
The five southeastern coastal states represent five of the six largest electricity markets on the East Coast with high per-capita electricity consumption and five of the six fastest growing populations, all of which point to above average electricity demand growth and an ability to absorb larger levels of land-based and offshore wind development. More >
The electricity supplies in the Southeast are dominated by coal, nuclear, and increasing amounts of natural gas. All of these resource types, especially natural gas and coal, are susceptible to fuel price volatility and large-scale outages. Wind energy diversifies the region’s electricity supply and delivers long-term, stable-priced energy since the price of the fuel (the wind) is always zero. This provides a hedge against future electricity price spikes caused by price volatility from fossil fuels. More >
Southeastern electricity markets are predominantly served by large, vertically-integrated and regulated utilities. Unlike many other parts of the country, the Southeast also lacks a single regional transmission organization (RTO) or independent system operator (ISO). This creates some unique attributes of the electricity markets in the region as compared to other east coast states. More >
The wind industry represents a major opportunity to provide clean, stable-priced energy using a domestic renewable resource, all while driving significant job growth and economic development. The problem with this approach is that the industry is far larger than any one state and no single state has everything the industry needs. While state-by-state competition is healthy for driving down costs, a regional approach like that being taken in the Southeast is necessary to realize the full potential of the industry. More >